Monday, May 16, 2011

NFL Draft Team Grades-Detroit Lions

Everyone loves the draft. Most teams depend on the draft to get better. The Lions are desperate for the draft to come every year, because they need help all over the place. The Lions have been horrendous for the last two decades, and there is some young talent on the roster. Now that they finally got rid of Matt Millen, they may finally have some success at developing some of this talent. The Lions had a very small draft class, so value was at a premium this year. Let's see how they did...

Round 1, Pick 13
Nick Fairley, DT

Despite what some people have stated about his limited mental capacity, but damn, no matter that, this guy is a beast, physically and talent wise. Fairley is a disruptive force that will dominate in the middle of a line, and now that he is joining Suh in the middle of the Lion line, teams on the schedule that will be opposing these Lions would be best suited to run to the outside at every opportununity, because the middle is going to be a trainwreck. Fairley collected 24 TFLs in 2010, his only season at Auburn, as he was a JC transfer. He also collected 11.5 sacks. The only question is whether or not he can translate to the next level after only one season of major college football. Collected 60 tackles on the season, a higher number for a tackle.
Final Grade: A

Round 2, Pick 12
Titus Young, WR
Boise State

Young is not a big, #1 type receiver for the Lions, but what he will be able to do is he'll fit under coverage and he will be sneaky enough to get open when the other talented receivers for the Lions are getting doubled up. He is a perfect change of pace receiver for Charles Johnson, and Matt Stafford should have a ton of success with this guy. He was the leading receiver for the Broncos last season, as he posted a line of 71-1215-9. Also collected 564 yards as a kick return man.
Grade: B+

Round 2, Pick 25
Mikel Leshoure, RB

Leshoure is a player that has been drafted to specifically remove another player from the Lions roster. Leshoure will be tasked with taking a job away from Kevin Smith, who has failed to live up to expectations in his short career. Leshoure is a good bet to succeed here, as he comes from the same mold as his predecessor at Illinois, Rashard Mendenhall. Leshoure rushed for 1706 yards and 17 TDs last season, as the Illini returned to the postseason. Leshoure, unfortunately, does not add incredible value as a receiver out of the backfield, as he only caught 17 passes last season. It's going to be an area that will need some work.
Final Grade: B-

Round 5, Pick 26
Doug Hogue, LB

Hogue is an intriguing talent due to his overall production from the linebacker position. The problem with him is that he is not a prototypical LB due to his size. He is 6-2, but weighs in at only 216. He is more in line with a safety by size. He did produce 95 tackles as a LB last season, and the Lions are projecting him at LB as well. Hogue collected 10.5 TFLs last season, meaning that he can navigate his way into the backfield, and with huge tackles like Suh and Fairley in front of him, he may find a way to produce at the next level.
Final Grade: B-

Round 7, Pick 6
Johnny Culbreath, OT
South Carolina State

Culbreath looks the part. He would have been drafted much higher had he been coming out of a bigger program. SC State, as you may not know, had a very good season, and they ranked very highly in our ranking system all season long. He has developmental potential, and with some great coaching and work, Culbreath may be a bargain pick.
Final Grade: B

Potential Surprise Picks
Culbreath, Hogue

Potential Flops
Culbreath, Hogue

Sure To Be a Star

Sure To Be a Flop
Some possibilities, but no sure thing

Final Team GPA
The Lions had some success with this class, but there is limited potential on front line talent. Most picks, outside of Fairley, are depth based picks. Young could break through, but Leshoure is a support player. Hogue will be suited to special packages, and Culbreath is a gamble. Solid depth additions, but don't expect too much.

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